Monday, August 29, 2011

The Longfellow Bridge Diaries: Part 2

He canvases himself with small treasures excavated over time. They sway from his hips: the torn knapsack, the corners of the pushcart with which he struggles, its wobbly wheel jerking to and fro on the cracked walkway of the Longfellow.

He hoards them underneath the asphalt where urban artwork is for your eyes only and the weight of a voice can echo for days. He places them carefully at home in corners of darkness, under the bridge.


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Longfellow Bridge Diaries: Part 1

Her sundress hovered around her legs, dancing in a light breeze with the discarded newspaper's obituary and coupon sections. Her strong, defined, calves flashed in snapshots under the swell of the dresses waving motion, showing glimpses of purpose in her stride.
She met him right there in the middle of bridge. It was high above the water where she watched two seagulls share the tips of the bridges piles, where she wasn’t sure if she was in Boston or Cambridge, where she kissed him on the cheek.
Her eyes met the black water of the Charles, as he spoke, her hands the rough railing that separated the real world from an imaginary one. The blue floral patterns rose up her shoulder, along with a shiver, as he held her arm and made broken record promises for the second, third, fourth time.
That moment, an onlooker would see her softening and dare to dream whether she was coming or if she going?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Christ’s Fingertips

The couch, where I sit
sucks me in

a deep breath
holding my stillness
with soft teeth

bound in ropes of a suit and tie
and a make believe phobia

there is no creaking
of a settling house
just a muted hum on the television

no blinking beams of light
through closed and broken blinds

I fear I will forget
to breathe
as you have

every detail in the ceiling
lashes out for attention

I see them all
I pay attention
to none

they could be barefoot bastard children
for somebody else to clothe

or the famished homeless
for somebody else to feed

all but the spider are there for me
one who knows nothing of reason

bad days with an open wound
refusing to close
meaningless, but vigilant

on my ceiling
I study for a purpose in his random path

and I wonder if I knew him
in another world
as a person

a human being
less than an insect

in this moment
I forget you
our memories transparent

like windows
I look through to see other things

there is no noise in the background
of the room or in my mind
but then

I feel the card
in my pocket

and Christ’s fingertips place
each letter of your name
in my head

and I hear things

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Cracked Sidewalk of Kentucky

One summer night, as I walked alone
down the cracked sidewalk of Kentucky
underneath a canopy of maples
where the moonlight fell
through branches
and lit my path with uneven lines

I wondered

where does the residue of lust and desire go
when everything you want to hear
has been said

(This was the very first poem I ever wrote. I workshopped it in my Poetry class at The Unversity of Pittsburgh... I haven't touched it since. It's time to sharpen my pencil.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Objects for the Sun God

and she ran away
with a violence
stabbing at her knees and feet

dissolving into the wetness  
of winter air

her face, now
only a 3x4 snapshot
lost in a sea
of other imprisoned moments
on a living room floor
I can move the thin
flat pile; searching
but all that is left is
a memory of soft blue eyes
a medicine that won't heal.

this one was abandoned
a splinter
left under the skin
pushed out by protective flesh
over time…
over pain and infection

it peels apart
and shows off the insides
a place where secrets
are stored; protected
away from idol hands
in the back pocket
of frayed blue jeans
and a forgetful mind

in here,
past drawn curtains,
and stain-glass windows,
she can see me
on my island of the past
holding each picture
up to the light
like an offering
objects for the Sun God

“not this one”
“nor this one”

it's the one
with her arm
around my neck
our two wild smiles
and the statue
of Nike
in the background
headless and
wings spread out


reversed back to blackness
and I remain the madman
of images; of a face
ten years younger
than it was

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


In 1987, I wanted to play in the creek,
catching frogs and wishing the darkness would wait another hour.
I wanted to keep a jar of lightning bugs by my bedside,
and name each one after cartoon characters.

In 1987, I wanted Tammy to be my friend,
I wanted to be important to somebody;
find a way to burst the soundless bubble that caged me
away from parents too young to see their recklessness.

In 1987, an Irish band sang With or Without you
and I wanted to know what love felt like.
I dreamed of beautiful girlfriends I would never make my wife,
because in 1987, I was too afraid to be kissed.

In 1987, I wanted to go to county fairs
instead of hospital waiting rooms.
I wanted to watch, for as long as I could,
until my innocence, like balloons, disappeared from view.

I wanted to believe in a Heaven
where I would never say goodbye to anyone,
never again watch ailing flesh
turn cold and gray.

In 1987, I wanted her to beat cancer.
I wanted to know my grandmother
better than an 11 year old could.
In 1987, I wanted it to be 1986.

(In Loving Memory of Jean "Nanny" Salley)